Explanation for rehiring Vero Beach city worker doesn’t add up

VERO BEACH – There is an explanation for why a retired Vero Beach electric utility worker was hired back at $20 more than he made before, the City of Vero Beach has released.

That explanation – all 11-pages of it -claims the city was saving money in the process. The math shows otherwise.

David Pearson retired in May 2008 and was replaced.

His replacement subsequently was promoted, leaving the position open again.

Regulators North American Electric Reliability Corporation did a “readiness evaluation” and recommended the city have a backup Electric System Programmer.

Instead of hiring a new employee, the city hired Pearson back.

“The Human Resources Department recommended that it would be in the best interest of the City to hire him back through a temporary service provider,” the report states.

The city didn’t attempt to fill the open position and end the temporary arrangement for nearly two years.

Other staffers were shuffled around and a management position in the department is still open.

Since October, Pearson has been training two other employees to work with the utility’s newly upgraded computer system.

All that should be completed at the end of this month.

Staff calculates the amount spent on all of this, exclusive of benefits, to be $298,567.

“The difference between the actual cost and the cost if Mr. Pearson had not retired is $42,584.05” ($298,567.95 instead of $341,152).

The problem with this explanation is that Pearson had retired – and then been rehired through the leasing firm – seven months before NERC handed down its recommendation.

The staff ‘s calculation of costs also does not factor in the $3,091 per month Pearson has been receiving in pension checks for the nearly three years since he retired.

Just counting the 27 months he was back on the job, that additional cost would be $83,457 – nearly twice the “savings” cited by the city.

The job was advertised for $20.53 per hour. Using the city’s numbers of $150,215 paid to Robert Half Technology, hiring a qualified person who wasn’t already retired from the city to work 40 hours every week for 27 months would have cost about $139,000.

That would be about $11,000 less than was paid the temp firm for 1,400 fewer man hours because Pearson, though he worked one solid year of the 27 months at 40 hours per week, worked an irregular schedule the rest of the time and sometimes took a week off around the holidays.

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